The Great Divide

There is a separation taking place right now in the world that most people are not fully aware of. The Lord Himself is dividing His sheep (the Church) from the goats (those who are not saved).  While the Master did tell us of this event, He did so in context to the Judgment of the Nations, a judgment that will occur in Jerusalem just after His Second Coming to the earth, with His Church, to establish His millennial kingdom.  Because we see this particular judgment taking place prior to the beginning of the millennial age, there is a similar pattern of this same type of separation taking place now, just prior to the Rapture of the Church.  This season of refining, testing, preparing, and separating that we are currently living in, a pre-tribulation season, is for all of us who will potentially be caught up in the Rapture.  This is how the Lord does it, he tests us, equips us, motivates us to move into His fold so that we can be part of this wonderful and eternal experience we call heaven. Jesus spoke of this separation in Matthew 25.

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”    

– Matthew 25:31-46

  • The idea of loving others as if they were the Christ Himself, even under duress, is a major part of the mandate that Jesus gave to His Church.  We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to all of those we encounter; this is how the body of Christ is to be working on the earth. 

While the world at large may hate us, they are really going to miss us after we’re gone.  The Holy Spirit within us restrains the evil that is so precedent in the world today.  He works through us and empowers us to be ambassadors of the Christ to a world that desperately needs the Lord.  When we’re taken in the Rapture, the restraining power of the Holy Spirit will also be taken.

Paul said it this way, “And now you know what is restraining, that he (antichrist) may be revealed in his own time (tribulation). 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He (Holy Spirit) who now restrains will do so until He (Holy Spirit) is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one (antichrist) will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”                                    – 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 

  • The Holy Spirit will still be present on the earth during the seven-year tribulation because their will be millions of people coming to faith in Jesus after the Church is raptured.  The same Holy Spirit who regenerates souls upon salvation now in the NT era will be regenerating souls throughout the seven years of the tribulation.  This will be a great revival, birthed out of trial and pain, but necessary to win so many who would have otherwise never chosen the Lord unless they were presented with the harsh truth that all have fallen short of God’s glory and are in desperate need of a Savior, Jesus.

Today, on this side of the Rapture, we see many families that are divided over this issue of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.  The Lord told us that this would happen within families, within cultures, and within communities where people live. Everyone must choose for themselves what they believe.

Jesus said it this way, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ 37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”

                                                                                              – Matthew 10:34-39

While we love our family, we must remember that we, if we are in Christ, are part of a much larger family, the family of God.  This family supersedes any earthly family, tribe, culture, or community.  We are invited into this family by receiving Jesus into our heart, repenting of our sin, and willingly live for the Lord by placing our faith in Him in accordance with His Word.  This life of disciplined obedience lends itself to us being separated out from the world and set apart to the Lord for His purpose – this is part of that great divide.

During the tribulation there will be an even greater divide taking place as many trib-saints (people saved after the Rapture) will be hunted down for not conforming to the antichrist system of taking the mark (chip, injection) of the beast.  This separation will cost a non-conformist their life on this earth, but will grant them eternity in heaven with Jesus if they die in Christ.  If a person stands on the correct side of this great divide, then they will be granted access into the kingdom of heaven.  If they conform to the world and follow after the many who oppose the will and ways of the Lord, they will suffer for eternity in the lake of fire.

Jesus said it this way, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult (confined) is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”                                                                                                                  – Matthew 7:13,14

This idea of two separate paths and two separate people groups is more of a reality than not. We don’t get to dictate how the Lord separates His people, only that He does it in accordance with His Word.  This division, this setting apart, so to speak, is how the Master works in conjunction to our obedience to His command to come unto Him. As we get nearer to the Lord’s return, we need to make sure that we are on the correct side of this divide and are waiting in the right line.  We are to be a people who are watching and waiting, but also working and wanting the Lord to come and take us home.  My concern is that while many people are ‘ready’ for the Lord’s return because they are tired or weary of all that is happening in the world, they themselves may not be ready spiritually for His return.  The Lord will allow extenuating circumstances to occur in our lives to move us into a place where we must fully trust in Him, love Him, and desire Him above all others or things in this world.  It’s a life lived for the Lord, knowing that we belong to Him, we have been bought with a great price, and the reward that the Lord has prepared for us is beyond anything that we could ask for or even think of.

‘But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”                                                                              – 1 Corinthians 2:9

As the Lord continues to separate His flock on this side of the Rapture, we must be mature in our walk and be sure that we are situated on the right side of Jesus, the ‘sheep side’ as it were.  Only then will we be ready when He returns.  This great divide is a critical component of our faith; we must be on the ‘God’ side of this divide. 


Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Northwest Missouri.  He lives with his wife of 32-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren).  Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate.  He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry. 

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